OAKLAND — The likelihood of Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman making his next scheduled start didn’t exactly take a leap forward here on Tuesday afternoon.
Gausman, whose turn in the rotation is scheduled to come up on Thursday for the first of four games in Seattle against the Mariners, continues to be bothered by a bruised ankle.
On what would have been his key prep day on Tuesday, Gausman was unable to throw off a mound at the Oakland Coliseum prior to the Jays-Athletics contest.
Gausman, who took a screaming ground ball off his ankle on Saturday in Toronto, forcing him to leave the game in the second inning, did throw off of flat ground on Tuesday. But he also limped noticeably, and it doesn’t seem likely that the work he got in will be enough to set him up for Thursday’s start.
It’s just the latest setback for the Jays pitching staff, an area of deep concern for the team, which entered Tuesday’s action on a four-game losing streak.
Those struggles have made life extremely challenging for manager Charlie Montoyo and pitching coach Pete Walker.
“It all goes back to pitching,” Montoyo said. “Pitching gives you a chance. It hasn’t been great the last couple of days.
“When your starter struggles early, you have to use your whole bullpen and then it catches up with you. Everyone pitches so much that’s where we are right now. The bullpen is being overused and our starters aren’t going deep.”
Hardly a recipe for success.
The latest disaster came on Tuesday when troubled starter Yusei Kikuchi went just 2.1 innings and surrendered four runs to put his team in yet another early hole.
How bad was his control? The lefty walked four of the first eight batters and for good measure, before his unsightly night was done, hit two more Athletics for free passes.
Given the gruelling schedule of late, Montoyo is making sure players get as much rest as possible.
That meant scheduled off days for Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on Tuesday. Both were out of the starting lineup, but available for pinch-hit duties if needed.
“With 18 games in 17 days the schedule has been brutal,” Montoyo said. “People deserve days off. They’re human beings. It’s been a grind. A lot of games, the West Coast trip …”
AROUND THE BASES
Jays third baseman Matt Chapman broke an 0-for-16 streak at the plate with a two-run homer against his former team on Tuesday … With Mark Budzinski on a leave of absence following the tragic death of his teenaged daughter Julia, the Jays have added Devon White to coach the outfielders. White works with position players with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons … Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Jays had won 13 of their previous 17 games against the A’s, dating back to 2017 … The three-game series wraps up with a Wednesday matinee, the Jays sending Jose Berrios to the mound to face A’s righty James Kaprielian.